Archive for power grab

Guess who: "Childish radicals who openly exult in the process of destroying the nation"

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incivility respect

Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Name-calling trumps civility," Perspective, Oct. 7

Robin Abcarian has gotten to the core of our political discourse: Name-calling has indeed come to trump civility.

But why is that? Is it a symptom of our political dumbing down? Does it mean that we have run out of ideas? Have we lost our sense of being a politically exceptional nation?

I cannot imagine members of our current Congress being anything like the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who in 1776, appealing "to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions," pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

I am hard-pressed to imagine our present Congress doing the same.

John H. Geerken

Claremont

The writer is a professor emeritus of history at Scripps College.

***

Abcarian's evenhanded call for Democrats and Republicans to behave as adults misses the point, as all such appeals to civility must.

What is happening in Congress, and even more in state legislatures, is an ominous echo of May 22, 1856, when Southern Sen. Preston Brooks thrashed and almost killed anti-slavery Sen. Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate with his cane.

The act epitomized the loss of civility in national discourse that was driving us toward civil war.

Today's campaign — waged for decades by one party to secure power for the powerful by degrading the political process to the lowest level of race-baiting class warfare — has spawned childish radicals who openly exult in the process of destroying the nation.

This madness can no longer be appeased by the only adults in the room. It must be confronted and named.

John Phillips

Camarillo

***

We the people are the problem, not Congress.

We blame the tea party, we blame the Republicans and we blame the Democrats, but it is us, the voters, who elected these people who are in turn failing us.

Apparently, many voters have serious short-term memory problems because we continually elect these people and then complain that they are obstructionists and not doing their jobs.

Let's remember this shameful time and put a note on our refrigerators carrying this reminder: I will become an informed citizen and vote for people who will put the good of their country ahead of their self-interest.

Michael Pirosh

Irvine

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Paul Ryan would play "leading role" if Romney wins. Then why won't he answer any questions?

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I got this email alert today. Since I'm not a subscriber, my access is limited, but here's the tease:

Paul Ryan Is Said to be Planning an Active Role: Representative Paul D. Ryan expects to play a leading role in a Romney administration’s drive to enact a budget-shrinking government and overhauling programs like Medicare.

Two things: One is the obvious concern over their agenda. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher system that will cost more out of pocket, and they'd love to cut things like, oh, let's see... FEMA. And that's just for starters.

But the other thing is this: Romney-Ryan’s shunning the press. Both of these cowards are refusing to answer questions, neither will be interviewed and haven't been for weeks. So what we got (or didn't get) during their campaign was a conspicuous lack of details about their policies and plans, a press blackout, and a whole lot of lies.

Yet if-- and that's a big if-- they win on Tuesday, Paul Ryan would suddenly become very visible and is already previewing the horror story that will become the United States of America should they gain the powers they crave so much. He aspires to be the next Dick Cheney, and we all know how that turned out.

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"A takeover artist all his life, Romney is now trying to take over America itself."

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Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone cover story is a must-read. Just go.

Go. Now. 

It's lengthy, but worth it. A few choice bits:

His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he's somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race. [...]

Mitt Romney, it turns out, is the perfect frontman for Wall Street's greed revolution. [...] Mitt Romney ...  has emerged now to sell this make-nothing, take-everything, screw-everyone ethos to the world. He's Gordon Gekko, but a new and improved version, with better PR – and a bigger goal. A takeover artist all his life, Romney is now trying to take over America itself. And if his own history is any guide, we'll all end up paying for the acquisition. [...]

Within the cult of Wall Street that forged Mitt Romney, making money justifies any behavior, no matter how venal. The look on Romney's face when he refuses to apologize says it all: Hey, I'm trying to win an election. [...] [U]nder Romney's business model, leveraging other people's debt means you can carve out big profits for yourself and leave everyone else holding the bag. [...]

[L]argely been hidden from voters: His personal fortune would not have been possible without the direct assistance of the U.S. government.

Bain Capital photo via Boston.com

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Some new nuggets about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

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Here are a couple of new nuggets for you. One gives us a little more insight into Willard Romney's "retroactive" not-exit from Bain Capital. What with all the secrecy and all, we're forced to snatch up bits and pieces of information where we can:

Via The Boston Globe:

Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates.

Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates.

‘The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control.’

‘He’d created a lot of franchise value, and we were going to pay him for that.’

The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,” said one former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the company.

And the Globe ends their piece with this, for those who have been wondering:

No one would succeed Romney as CEO of Bain Capital. To this day, Bain is run by a management committee.

So there's that.

Yes, Willard's greed and quest to retain control while trying to avoid scrutiny is getting more... scrutiny. He keeps bragging about all that investment savvy, but he should actually be boasting about his endurance and the impressive size of his package. Erm. Well, you know what I mean.

And here's another nugget that cjr.org noticed:

Meanwhile, there’s a line that goes by almost in passing in the Globe piece that suggests an opportunity for further reporting. Paraphrasing the worries of an unnamed Bain partner, Healy and Kranish describe Romney as someone “who excelled at bringing in investors, not at finding the companies to invest in and overhaul.” Bringing in investors is clearly an important business skill. But as Yoni Appelbaum notes on Twitter, the narrative Romney and his supporters offer about his private-sector experience emphasizes his managerial know-how, not his talents as a rainmaker.

Per the Globe, one partner worried that after Romney's departure, "Bain might have trouble attracting money to its funds." So Romney was better at attracting money for Bain than he was at making it, the way he was better at firing and outsourcing than he was at creating American jobs.

So, according to this report, his package was big but his know-how is now experiencing shrinkage. As always, there is less to Mitt than meets the eye.

And now, because it's election season and we'll be extra busy, we GottaAsk:

We really need your donations, and we'd love to stop asking.

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Quickie: WI Attorney General will send criminal investigators and lawyers to polls during Tuesday's recall election

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Today's Quickie:

Wisconsin's Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, is sending criminal investigators and lawyers to the polls on Tuesday during the recall elections to unseat Gov. Scott "divide and conquer," "under investigation" Walker, conservative Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and a few abominable GOP senators.

Yes, that's right, teams of special agents and assistant attorney generals will be fanning out statewide. Seven-- count 'em, seven!-- of those groups will be in Milwaukee... which leans-- wait for it--Democratic.

Well, come on, why wouldn't he take precautions? Because, you know, there's all that rampant voter fraud out there.

Oh wait.

That was today's Quickie. Was it good for you?

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WI Gov. Scott Walker denies being target of investigation. "But that's not quite true. In fact, it's a pretty galling lie."

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(David Shuster recaps WalkerGate on the Young Turks. Via Crooks & Liars)

Scotty Walker has been in denial about the legal hot water he's in, saying that he's not a target of any investigation, and that we'll all find out what a stellar guy he really is when he's cleared. Capper, over at Cognitive Dissidence, thinks otherwise (Please follow the link, because his post is chock full o' great information):

But that's not quite true.  In fact, it's a pretty galling lie.

There is a code that US Attorneys follow that requires them to provide a letter to a person stating that they are not the target of their investigation.  And word is, like they're supposed to, Walker's attorneys have been asking for such a letter for weeks.  And if Walker had such a letter, he would be free to produce it and remove any doubt about his innocence once and for all.

But Walker has produced no such letter, basically because none exists. [...]

By the way, there is also another code that forbids them from filing charges within sixty days of an election, so that there is no appearance of trying to influence said election.  I also learned that in these types of situations, it is common practice for the state, in this case DA John Chisholm, to defer to the DOJ, which is why he also hasn't filed charges against Walker yet. [...]

From what I understand, the charges will be more along the lines of mail and wire fraud and the such.

I also learned that, despite what my friend, H. Nelson Goodson at the Hispanic News Network, insists upon, at the stage their in, any indictments won't be for weeks or even months, if they choose to try him at all on the federal level.

And then Capper goes on to say that there's also a "Walkergate West" which he explains fully in his post.

He adds that "there is a very strong likelihood that Walker will be indicted on a federal and/or state level before the year's out," and "whether it's by recall or by indictment, the odds are pretty good that Walker won't complete a full term."

The problem with that is that Governor Rebecca "Minivan" Kleefisch would then be in charge.

And so we have the bottom line: Wisconsinites, please vote for Tom Barrett, because if Walker wins, so does Kleefisch, and that would be catastrophic.

Here's how those in Wisconsin can help other voters (free cab rides to polls June 5th in Madison, WI).

Bonus link: Wisconsin Democrats Call on Scott Walker to Produce Exoneration Evidence

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Scott Walker's "campaign was one of the dirtiest in school history."

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Circa 1986-- Via ddschools.wordpress.com

Walking down Memory Lane with teen bully Willard M. Romney was quite the eye-opener. Now we have a first hand account of what it was like to be a college classmate of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's.

"Scathing" doesn't begin to describe this personal essay about Walker by Dr. Glen Barry. He describes his time at Marquette University with Scotty and his sadly familiar ways. Here are but a few excerpts from a must-read post at Wisconsin Citzens Media Co-op:

The year was 1988 – current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is running for Marquette University student body President. [...] I had the misfortune of being a college classmate of Scott Walker.  [...]

To put it politely, Walker was not the sharpest tool in the shed, actually amongst the least sharp. With a C average (if that) and never graduating, I am not surprised to see him making up his own math on jobs when the real numbers don’t suit him. This reflects the utter disdain with which he holds truth, knowledge, education, and anything else that clashes with his absolutist worldview of religious and corporate based rule. As a classmate, he displayed a shocking lack of curiosity, original thought, or interest in topics other than his political ascendency.

Walker’s debut in Marquette student politics as a freshman began by stirring up the campus with a McCarthyite investigation into misspending by the Homecoming committee... Walker lost on all counts, but not before destroying a few people’s reputations, and amassing personal power. Sound familiar? Thus began an over 25 year record of bullying to get what he wants, of being insincere and narcissistic, and political grandstanding at the expense of others¸ all for personal self-aggrandizement, and without an ounce of either personal or political virtue. [...]

In an unprecedented move, the newspaper retracted itself and declared Walker “unfit for office”. Scott Walker lost in a land slide and was deeply humiliated by his poor conduct. ... His campaign was one of the dirtiest in school history. [...]

Walker seeks to consolidate his power with every move he makes. Everything comes down to a cruel calculus of whether it benefits him personally and politically, with no concern regarding the line of victims behind him, or concern with such “socialist” virtues as human rights, economic justice, equity, and sustaining ecology.

Next time, Dr. Barry, don't hold back so much. Speak your mind.

Seriously, please go read the entire thing here.

H/t: @SerialGramma

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